"Rose Covered Glasses" is a serious essay, satire and photo-poetry commentary from a group of US Military Veterans in Minnesota.
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Saturday, December 28, 2019
All I Wanted for Christmas…Was Information About U.S. Military Deployments
Dan Burke of the 2nd ID 3rd SBCT 1-23 Inf. B Co. celebrates Turkey Day 2009 in Iraq. Photo by Nathan Marques.
Editor's Note: Emma Still Does not have her wish a year later.
"Cato Institute" By Emma Ashford
"The fundamental problem is simple. With only limited knowledge of where American troops are, and what they are doing there, we cannot even have a coherent public discussion about the scope of U.S. military intervention around the globe."
"U.S. troops are currently engaged in counterterrorism and support missions in Somalia, Chad, Nigeria, and elsewhere, deployments which have never been debated by Congress and are authorized only under a patchwork of shaky, existing authorities.
Take Syria, where the Pentagon long claimed that there were only 500 boots on the ground, even though anecdotal accounts suggested a much higher total. When Maj. General James Jarrard accidentally admitted to reporters at a press conference in October that the number was closer to 4000, his statement was quickly walked back. Finally, last week, the Pentagon officially acknowledged that there are in fact 2000 troops on the ground in Syria, and pledged that they will stay there ‘indefinitely.’
Even when we do know how many troops are stationed abroad, we often don’t know what they’re doing. Look at Niger, where a firefight in October left four soldiers dead. Prior to this news—and to the President’s disturbing decision to publicly feud with the widow of one of the soldiers—most Americans had no idea that troops deployed to Africa on so-called ‘train-and equip’ missions were engaged in active combat.
Even in the Middle East, deployments have been increasing substantially under the Trump administration, with the number of troops and civilian support staff in the region increasing by almost 30% during the summer of 2017 alone. These dramatic increases were noted in the Pentagon’s quarterly personnel report, but no effort was made to draw public attention to them.
So if I could ask for one change to U.S. foreign policy for Christmas, I’d like to know where American troops are and what they’re doing there."